Walking Could Help To Decrease Depression, Review Finds
Walking is effective in helping to decrease depressive symptoms, according to a new review of studies.
Research published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity shows that “walking has a statistically significant, large effect on the symptoms of depression in some populations.”
The review showed that walking works as well as other kinds of exercise in helping lower depressive symptoms.
The review included eight studies, evaluating a total of 341 people, which all showed that walking is able to lessen symptoms of depression. But the researchers cautioned that the ways the studies were conducted — like how long the people walked, at what pace, and how often — were different from study to study, so more research is needed to find what is the most effective.
“The beauty of walking is that everybody does it,” Adrian Taylor, a professor at the University of Exeter who studies depression, addiction and stress, told BBC News.
The Mayo Clinic explained that exercise may help fight depression by prompting the release of chemicals in the brain that are linked with feeling happy, and could also help to calm the body by raising body temperature. It could also help by serving as a distraction, boosting confidence and social interaction, and serving as a “substitute” for more unhealthy coping practices like drinking alcohol.